Lebo beats BP in girls’ hoops
Section banners are nice but Mt. Lebanon, even Bethel Park, knows there are bigger prizes in girls’ basketball. So both have already put Lebo’s 49-35 triumph over the Hawks on Monday, Jan. 28 behind them.
“Section is section,” said Lebo floor boss Dori Oldaker. “It prepares you for the playoffs whether we win it or not. But, that’s not our goal.”
Lebo’s immediate focus is Thursday’s contest at Chartiers Valley. Then the Blue Devils face Baldwin Feb. 4 and visit Upper St. Clair Feb. 7 to close out Section 4-AAAA play.
“Thursday is our goal. The bigger game,” Oldaker said as the Lebo ladies prepare for the Lady Colts, whom they defeated, 48-45, earlier this year. “We won’t take anyone lightly. Who can survive,” she said is basically what section play is about but “it definitely prepares you for the playoffs.”
After a “disappointing” loss as BP’s was to its rival, Jonna Burke concurred. She hopes her ladies learned a lesson. “This may be a wake-up call,” she said.
With Chartiers Valley at home on Feb. 4 and a trip to Baldwin on Feb. 8 before the post-season, Burke said that “this may be the right time to absorb a loss. Only time will tell. But,” she cautioned, “you don’t play well (in the playoffs) then you are done.”
Done are BP’s plans to go through the league undefeated. With the defeat to Lebo, BP slipped to 9-1 in the division and 16-2 overall. Lebo is 8-1 in the section and 17-2 overall while CV is 8-2 in league play and 14-4 overall.
The Lady Hawks were done early when not only their shots did not fall but they lost their best player to foul trouble. Megan Marecic picked up her third foul 18 seconds into the second stanza and Lebo opened up a seven-point advantage by intermission, 21-14.
Marecic fouled out of the game with 1:34 to play, but not before she brought the Hawks back from a 15-point deficit. On back-to-back threes by Marecic as well as a pair of free throws by Shannon Conley, BP cut Lebo’s margin to 10 points, 37-27. Marecic left the game with 14 points, all but four coming in the final frame.
“Megan getting into foul trouble changed the complexion of the game for us,” Burke said. “We cannot rely on her solely. We need others to put the ball in the hoop.
“We struggled to put the ball in the hoop,” Burke noted. “Fourteen points in a half is not going to get it done. That was disappointing.”
Lebo’s defense was anything but disappointing. Although they allowed the Hawks a brief, 10-9, lead, the Blue Devils held BP to four, second quarter points and five, third-quarter markers as they opened up a 32-17 edge after Amanda Frosztega knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:11 to play in the period.
“Their defense is always outstanding and we struggled to get open looks. Even in the paint, they have those big arms,” said Burke.
Even so, she noted that BP let Lebo get two, three shots while the Hawks didn’t get too many rebounds.
When down by 10, she said BP needed to make plays on defense but didn’t. “Okay at that point, we needed to get the stop and we didn’t and that drove the dagger in deeper. That makes any comeback harder.”
Margie McCaffrey’s seven free throws accounted for most of her nine points. Christine Ehland finished with 10 tallies, six from the charity stripe.
Alex Ventrone led Lebo with 11 markers. “She’s a solid player,” said Oldaker. “She always brings it.”
Jordyn Holmes brought eight more points to the table while Maddie Collins finished with seven.
Previously, Bethel Park blasted Peters Township, 70-44, while Lebo scored a come-from-behind victory, 42-40, against Cumberland Valley.
Marecic topped 20 markers while Kaitlin Chess and Sam Simpson provided 13 and 11 points for the Lady Hawks.
For the Blue Devils, who trailed by eight after the first frame, Ehland exploded for 20 points.